Endocrinologists are specially trained to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the glands, such as diabetes, thyroid diseases, metabolic disorders, and abnormal production of hormones.
Some of the common conditions treated by board-certified Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists include:
Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans, and over 40 million Americans have prediabetes. Put simply, patients with diabetes have too much or too little sugar in their blood. Studies have found that controlling blood sugar helps prevent serious complications that can be caused by diabetes, such as microvascular conditions of the eyes, kidneys, and nerves, and macrovascular conditions of the heart, brain, and blood vessels.
When food is digested, glucose enters the bloodstream. Then the pancreas makes insulin, which moves glucose from the bloodstream into muscle, fat, and liver cells where it can be used as fuel for the body. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood sugar. People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or their muscle, fat, and liver cells don’t respond to insulin normally.
Your Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologist treats diabetes with diet and medications, including insulin. They also work closely with your primary care physician to control and monitor blood sugar and prevent related health problems.
In addition, nurses who are certified diabetes care and education specialists (CDCESs) work as an extension of our endocrinologists to educate and treat patients with the appropriate diet to maintain glucose levels.
Patients with thyroid disease often have problems with their energy levels. They may also have issues with muscle strength, emotions, weight control, and tolerating heat or cold.
An endocrinologist treats patients who have too much or too little thyroid hormone caused by either an overactive or underactive thyroid by helping them reach a hormone balance.
The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, just below the voice box. It produces hormones that help the body control metabolism. Thyroid hormone is produced in response to another hormone released by the pituitary gland.
There are four main types of thyroid disease:
- Hyperthyroidism – too much thyroid hormone
- Hypothyroidism – too little thyroid hormone
- Benign (non-cancerous) thyroid disease
- Thyroid cancer
Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists treat common bone diseases, such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia.
Osteomalacia, more commonly known as rickets, causes bones to soften, while osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the skeleton.
Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease. An estimated 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and another 18 million have low bone mass, or osteopenia, which may eventually lead to osteoporosis if not treated.
Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, when too much old bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both.
Certain hormones act to protect bone tissue, and when hormone levels are abnormal, bones can lose calcium and weaken, putting you at higher risk of bone fractures.
The leading cause of osteoporosis is a drop in estrogen in women during menopause and a drop in testosterone in men. Women, especially those older than 50, get osteoporosis more often than men.
Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists also treat other disorders that can affect bones, such as too much parathyroid hormone and long-term use of steroids.
Endocrinologists treat patients who are overweight or obese if their issues with weight are related to metabolic or hormonal problems, although thyroid, adrenal, ovarian, and pituitary disorders rarely cause obesity.
Endocrinologists can also identify issues linked with obesity, such as insulin resistance and genetic factors.
Pituitary Hormone Imbalance
The pituitary is often called the master gland of the body because it controls other glands and makes several important hormones.
The over- or under-production of pituitary hormones can cause an imbalance that may lead to infertility, menstrual disorders, growth disorders, and too much cortisol production (Cushing’s syndrome).
Your endocrinologist can help control these conditions with medications and refer patients who need surgery.
Hypertension, commonly referred to as high blood pressure, is a risk factor for heart disease. Up to 10% of people have hypertension because of too much aldosterone, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands. About half of these cases are caused by growths that can be removed with surgery.
You’re at greater risk of hypertension if you have a family history of the disease. Smoking, obesity, and diabetes are all risk factors for hypertension.
Conditions such as metabolic syndrome or a rare adrenal growth called a pheochromocytoma may also cause a hormone imbalance that leads to hypertension.
Patients with lipid disorders have trouble maintaining normal levels of body fats. Endocrinologists are trained to detect factors that may be related to lipid disorders, such as hypothyroidism, drug use, genetic factors, or metabolic conditions.
Lipid disorders are linked to several conditions that require special management, including metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and obesity.
Targeted diets, exercise, and medications may be prescribed to manage hyperlipidemia and other lipid disorders.
Kelsey-Seybold Clinic’s Primary Prevention Lipid Clinic is dedicated to helping people who are at risk of developing lipid disorders. Ask your Kelsey-Seybold cardiologist for more information about this program. In most cases, a referral isn’t required.